Wednesday, January 4, 2017

It's a Raymond Chandler Evening

Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep starts with:
It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.  I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be.  I was calling on four million dollars.
And gets better...
The lean black-eyed credit jeweler was standing in his entrance in the same position as the afternoon before. He gave me the same knowing look as I turned in. The store looked just the same. The same lamp glowed on the small desk in the corner and the same ash blonde in the same black suede-like dress got up from behind it and came towards me with the same tentative smile on her face.
It was raining again the next morning, a slanting gray rain like a swung curtain of crystal beads.  I got up feeling sluggish and tired and stood looking out of the windows, with a dark harsh taste of Sternwoods still in my mouth.  I was as empty of life as a scarecrow's pockets.  I went out to the kitchenette and drank two cups of black coffee.  You can have a hangover from other things than alcohol.  I had one from women.  Women made me sick.
 The blonde spat at me and threw herself on my leg and tried to bite that.  I cracked her on the head with the gun, not very hard, and tried to stand up. She rolled down my legs and wrapped her arms around them. I fell back on the davenport.  The blonde was strong with the madness of love or fear, or a mixture of both, or maybe she was just strong.
 A small man with glasses and a tired face and a black bag came down the steps from the pier.  He picked out a fairly clean spot on the deck and put the bag down.  Then he took his hat off and rubbed the back of his neck and stared out to sea, as if he didn't know where he was or what he had come for.
The dialogue's vernacular is comprised of dames and soldiers, dusting-offs and skipping town, colts and blackjacks, club-ears and worn suits; they're crafted into phrases like "Shake your business up and pour it.  I haven't got all day," and "You've been following me around for a couple of days, like a fellow trying to pick up a girl and lacking the last inch of nerve.  Maybe you're selling insurance.  Maybe you knew a fellow called Joe Brody. That's a lot of maybes, but I have a lot on hand in my business."

Lose yourself in West Hollywood hacks and private dicks, spoiled rich women and crooked cops, dirty smut and desperate dames.  It's better than watching the tele.

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